Moisture is a key factor in the health of our skin and hair, but choosing products and ingredients that are effective in creating the right level of hydration can be challenging. A key point to keep in mind when shopping is that some help your skin and hair absorb or retain optimal levels of moisture, while others simply sit on the surface and create a glossy finish. Glycerin, an ingredient found in many of the cleansers, conditioners, serums and creams you already use, is also available on its own and can be an asset to both your skin and hair care routines. Derived from synthetic sources, the fat of animals, or the oils of plants such as corn, coconut, or shea nuts, glycerin is a colorless, odorless liquid with high humectant power. Basically, it attracts moisture from the air and helps it penetrate the outer layers of the skin and hair and then helps it be absorbed into deeper layers thanks to its small molecules. Plus it’s non-comedogenic, so it doesn’t clog pores. Vegetable glycerin—rather than synthetic or animal-based—is typically the preferred version for use in your self-care rotation. Here are a few ways it can enhance that melanated glow or give your curls a boost.